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Saturday, February 27, 2010
Take a look at the image on the left. What do you see? If you have never seen this illusion before you most likely see an image of a haggard old woman. Look again. Refocus. Can you make out the other image, the one of the pretty young woman? (The young woman's nose and eyelashes appear on the old woman's nose, and the old woman's mouth appears as a choker on the neck of the young woman).  Same lines, same set of black and white spaces, but depending on how you look at it, a different image emerges.

It’s a common situation in marriage as well. A husband and wife will look at the same circumstances and facts yet have two very different pictures of how things are. It’s a natural occurrence that comes about due to many factors, including our personalities, brain wiring, past experiences, etc. As with the picture presented here, once you see it the other way, it becomes easy to see it differently the next time, simply by shifting your focus a bit.  It isn't about right or wrong, but seeing differently.

Today’s Paradigm in Practice is intended to get you to see what your spouse sees – about you.

Each of you is to write down ten things about your self that you think your spouse loves the most. Take some time to do this, and think about it from many angles: personality traits, physical appearance, habits, quirks, beliefs, and talents. Really try to think about what your spouse feels, not how you feel about yourself. It doesn’t matter if you agree with these things or not.

Next each of you will write down ten things about your spouse that you love the most. Again, consider it from different angles, as above, and pick several from each. Take the time you need to consider the question thoroughly.

Now it gets interesting. It’s time to compare notes. Ladies first. She reads off one item from her second list, the one where she describes the things she loves about her husband. He examines his list of things he thinks she loves about him to see if he guessed that one correctly (or nearly so). Next he reads off one item from his list of things he loves about his her, and she looks to see if she has a match. Take turns reading through each of the ten items. Next, read off the remaining items that you thought your spouse admired but that didn’t appear your spouse’s list.

Here are a few questions to prompt your discussion of this exercise:
  1. How accurately were you able to describe the good things your spouse sees in you? Why or why not?
  2. What things were on your list of things you love about your spouse that weren’t on their list of what they think you love? What does this say about how effectively you communicate your admiration to each other?
  3. How quickly do you dismiss and argue against the things your spouse admires about you? Do you accept their admiration and choose to believe in their love, or do you deny it?
  4. Have you been guilty of simply assuming your spouse already knows how you feel about him or her and not making an effort to communicate it?
For the next few weeks (and for the rest of your life) make an extra effort to communicate to your spouse the things you love about them. Think of creative and fun ways you can do this. Be genuine. Be sincere. But most of all, make an effort to be consistent in communicating your love and admiration for your spouse.
Don’t assume that they see what you see.


Tom and Debi with The Romantic Vineyard said...


What a great exercise in learning how to communicate about things that matter most. I think we'll try this one on our next date!

Scott said...

Tom and Debi, I must admit that Jenni and I haven't done this yet. We hope to this weekend. Should prove interesting.

Jenni said...

This was such a fun thing! Thanks Bunch! I should have listed that I love your creativity!

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